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  • I have enjoyed the RetroPie project and the support from this forum since August 2017.

    I know the modern contributors by username, but unfortunately never knew some of those who used to contribute... Regardless, I've always felt well supported. I look at the commits for RetroPie, EmulationStation and a number of related upstream repositories and I always get excited when something new pops up that interests me.

    Other than donations, which I imagine are small, a number of people continue to script, code, publish and maintain forums. I'm frequently in awe of the engineering skill seen here, and in RetroArch repositories.

    And with so many themes from a handful of creators! Squeaking out every bit of functionality from EmulationStation, putting tremendous care into each and every image. Always astounded.

    I would enjoy the backstory of our contributors and moderators. Why do you do this? What got you into this? Why are you still here?
    (Donation included)

  • Global Moderator

    @roslof said in Backstories Wanted: RetroPie Moderators, Engineers and Contributors!:

    Why do you do this?

    It's interesting and satisfies my tinkering impulses. Plus, sometimes you get to play games !

    What got you into this?

    I installed RetroPie as a gift to an old friend and got bitten by the Raspberry Pi bug. I got one for myself a few months later and got to play with it, and began searching for answers to configuration ideas/issues, so I got to know the forums well. I then registered in the forums and I occasionally started to answer users' questions.

    One topic at the time was the new additions to EmulationStation and I noticed that users that were trying new patches complained about long compile times. So I got the idea of cross-compiling RetroPie's packages from a more powerfull PC. Experimented a bit with it and it seemed doable, so I started my first topic to explain the idea. While my experiments didn't come to fruition, I got to understand how RetroPie packaging works and got familiar with it.

    Eventually I opened a Github account and started sending small PRs to the main project, then @Buzz asked me about becoming a moderator, so .. here we are.

    Why are you still here?

    It's still fun and there is still research to be done.

    Thanks for the kind words and donation.

  • administrators

    Thanks very much for the donation.

    I detail a little of how I got involved on my personal site - (along with other projects I have worked on)

  • administrators

    I always wanted a one stop place to play all my old games without needing all the extra hardware taking up space, and in 2013 came across retropie. Back then you still had to install basically everything manually and there was very scant documentation. I was at Uni and had heard about Linux and this was a great excuse to dabble. I tried to get it set up and figured that I would try and document the process as I did it, and somehow found myself spending more time writing documentation and tinkering than I did playing, and I guess Jools thought it was useful enough for me to stick around. My circumstances have changed somewhat post Uni with other obligations so I've since taken a step back to attend to those. Other capable people like mitu have kept the ship running better in many ways but I still lurk occasionally.

    I'd say a lot of the stuff I've used in tinkering with Retropie has contributed directly to my career path and where I'm at now. I'm still not near as good at coding as I should be but I now know enough to accomplish useful tasks and have janky set ups of various Raspberry Pi's around the house, running sensors, adblockers, VPNs and media players. It's amazing how far retropie has come from when it first started and it just keeps getting better, thanks to the far more talented people involved.

  • These are great @mitu @BuZz @herb_fargus! Appreciate you all sharing. Hope more folks post (eg. themers like @chicuelo @Zachariel, Hursty if he's around, @Orionsangel for bezels, etc.) but I'm aware y'all have been key to engineering development. I read @BuZz's webpage and @mitu's first major post. Now curious about @herb_fargus' career, but respect anonymity here, of course. Cheers to you guys... And thank you (again) for making this an amazing experience for me and for so many.

  • @roslof I'm here. What's up?

  • @Orionsangel said in Backstories Wanted: RetroPie Moderators, Engineers and Contributors!:

    @roslof I'm here. What's up?

    See OP. Looking for Origin Stories if you're interested.

  • Thanks @BuZz for sending this over, had completely missed this - and thanks all for sharing your stories as well :)

    In my case, my origin story is a bit different. I had always been fond of retro-gaming in general, being an avid reader and listener of retro-gaming content throughout the last 2 decades, and had dabbled in emulation as a user since... 199x? Nesticle and Genecyst were some of the first I used, as well as a ZX Spectrum emulator that I don't remember the name of and a super fast short-lived SNES emulator that didn't have sound but ran full-speed on my old 486 (just googled it,! I studied computer science but only did development for a handful of years early in my career before moving on to other things. I had always had the dream of developing a video game, but I was never even close to it.

    As years went by and I stopped gaming on the PC I found myself lacking avenues to play old games, and one day I learned that a work colleague had set up RetroPie on a Raspberry Pi, so I thought I'd look into it myself and that was it. I bought a Pi, set it up, very tentatively at first. I wasn't a Linux user at the time, and while I was confident enough to set things up by myself for the most part, it never crossed my mind that I would ever have anything to contribute other than helping others in the forums.

    Shortly after I started a user named @fieldofcows showed up and started developing video support for EmulationStation. He created the foundation for video support in the gamelist view, and - if I recall correctly - a prototype of screensaver support. Alas, he dropped off the forums after a while, and the work was never fully finished nor merged into the main ES repository. I seem to recall an interaction where I (as a newcomer) suggested that it should be merged upstream, and @BuZz replying something to the effect of "the code is public - if someone actually goes ahead and does it, we'll be happy to consider it", and I thought "...I suppose that might have to be me, then?", so I created a GitHub account, forked @fieldofcows 's ES repository (which, to this day, still is the one I have because I suck at GitHub!) and that was the beginning of my involvement in ES development, which would certainly not have happened - and I would personally be very much worse off - without this serendipitous set of events.

    After that, and inspired by @dankcushions ' contributions to lr-mameXXXX and other emulators I thought I'd try to fix some things in some of those projects as time went by, and I contributed with minute quality of life improvements to PCSX-Rearmed (removing the default dithering filter, or adding an option to disable vibration that was causing the emulator to freeze for a split second every time vibration was triggered when using specific controllers), and since then I have contributed to other emulators in similar manners and cherished being a part of this project, as - just like @mitu - I can use my skills to tinker with things and help others if possible.

    Just like @herb_fargus these days I mostly lurk in the forums as my availability is more reduced, but I stay up to date with what's happening and try to help where I can. These past few weeks I got back into development as I've been working on improving lightgun support for some emulators that RetroPie (once again, something I had never thought I'd be able to competently contribute to), and improving some background things in EmulationStation that's still where it al began for me.

    I do this and I stay around here because I am ever so thankful for having me as part of this community and project, because I respect and admire many of the folks and their contributions - every single day I live with impostor syndrome - I and because it allows me to contribute to an area that I am passionate about and had never managed to professionally or as a personal project, until now.

    So thank you all for being a part of this, and thank you @roslof for prompting this - it's good to reminisce for a moment and be thankful for things. Looking forward to hearing other "Origin Stories" as you call it. @jdrassa @Tomaz @dankcushions @psyke83 and @mediamogul come to mind as others who I recall being directly involved in development or moderation at some point, if they're still around the forums, as many others who have been long-time contributors to the project in many different ways - from creating tools or scripts, documenting things, themes and helping out with community dynamics such as MAME ROW, Game of the Month, etc. :)

    Over to you!

  • Global Moderator

    i think i first heard of retropie in 2015 on, so i bought a raspberry pi 2, got it set up, and then started asking questions on the old petrockblock forums. eventually i got involved with logging and fixing issues - i was a bit of an arse with some of my first issues: hotkeys and video smoothing but i (eventually) chilled out a bit, and started contributing more than nagging!

    i think this was my first commit, and from then i started messing with lr-mame2003 a lot, trying to get it hooked into the libretro API as much as possible. it was my first experience with C (i am a fintech developer for my dayjob), and a lot of fun trying to fix (break) things!

    i eventually lost my mojo with mame stuff for various reasons, but have a lot of things i want to do with the wider retropie world. eventually i got invited to join the moderation team due to my abundance of boredom whilst i'm at work :)

    it's definitely feels good to contribute to this great community, and have a chance to learn new things and leave something behind more rewarding than my usual work (which is making rich guys richer...). i should also say that @BuZz's stewardship of the script and involvement at every level is what keeps everything hanging together. more care goes into RetroPie than almost every professional project i work on - not bad for a hobby!

    thanks for the donation and thanks to the community <3

  • Global Moderator

    @roslof Hey! Buzz asked me to stop by and put in a little bio. I go by Rookervik.

    I got into the Raspberry Pi solely for the purpose of RetroPie back on my Raspberry Pi 1. I started off just modding 16-bit game title-screens to say "RetroPie" that I could use as my startup screen. I had a decent collection when Herbfargus told me I should post them on the forum, so I did. That's how all my action got started. :D

    After uploading a ton of splash screens, I started working on a theme for EmulationStation that could run without crashing on the limited amount of RAM that the Pi1 had. So I drew the art for some 80+ system controllers, created a ton of custom SVG logos and wrote the code (with help from Herb) for the first complete theme that could run on ES without breaking at the RAM limit: Carbon.

    Just after I finished up Carbon and we packed it as the default theme for RetroPie, I started working on the Pixel theme. Over the course of some months I, once again, drew all the consoles and all the logos for systems to make the second complete theme for RetroPie, Pixel.

    I've gone back to full-time work, now, and help take care of my nephew. So my time is limited and I get easily distracted. You can still catch me in the IRC channel. I sometimes check the forum posts but I was never good at keeping up with the forum. LOL.

    Thanks for your interest in us contributors. I'm enjoying reading everyone elses' posts. :D

  • Thanks to all of you for your continued hard work! You've fulfilled my childhood dream of having one device to play all my video games from. Even better is that I don't need the actual cartridges. (and there's no NES paddle to aggravate the carpal tunnel...)

  • @roslof Origin Stories?

  • @Orionsangel said in Backstories Wanted: RetroPie Moderators, Engineers and Contributors!:

    @roslof Origin Stories?

    Who is Orionsangel? What got you into these games or this product? What do you do for this community (eg. I make kick-ass bezels)? How did you get started? Why isn't there an apostrophe in your name? 🤣

    The Origin of Orion.

  • @Orionsangel said in Backstories Wanted: RetroPie Moderators, Engineers and Contributors!:

    @roslof Origin Stories?

    every superhero needs one...

  • @roslof I'm a superhero? Golly, I never saw myself as a superhero. Gee thanks. I'll have to think about it.

  • I've always been fond of retro gaming, reliving the days of my youth, remembering how awesome it was all the times when dad took me and my older brother to the local snooker club to rent a NES back in the 80s.

    I've always had emulators on my PC as far back as I can remember, and having used the Pi as a media player ( OSMC ) I figured that it have to be good enough to emulate older systems like the NES or SNES.

    So in late 2017 I started to look for the options available and RetroPie was the obvious choice, and being a professional game programmer I of course could not resist the urge to grab the code for EmulationStation and read through it. I think my first patch was to make it so FreeImage could be use as a static library on windows rather than a dll. Then started the madness where I replaced the behemoth of wasted space that was Eigen ( a really awesome math library ) with custom optimized vector and matrix functions since using Eigen was kinda like trying to kill an ant with a mountain. Still being quite perplexed as of why it took over 50 minutes to compile EmulationStation on the Pi I started investigating why that was the case, and found it to be the boost library. Slowly replacing all the boost functionality with our own code it all started to take shape, when I finally In late Jan 2018 had removed all traces of boost, and ES now took about 6 minutes to compile.

    And from then on I've been doing both minor and major rewrites, cleanings and fixes all over the ES source.

  • @Tomaz Seriously, the amount of fat you trimmed from ES was absurd - I did not recall (but now I do :D ) the amount of time ES took to compile!

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